Sunday, August 21, 2011

Ideas Worth Spreading

If you're like me, you're always checking out videos from the TED Conference to gain inspiration. The ideas presented at these conferences tend to be extraordinary in that they are unique. What makes marketing extraordinary is in the execution of not-so-unique ideas.

There is nothing wrong with taking a common idea and making it yours - fine tune an idea into something that works for your business. In my career, I had no problem discussing ideas with other marketers in my industry. We all had different ways of executing our marketing plans and THAT'S what made it unique.

Don't spend all your time trying to come up with something that you think no one else has thought of yet. You'll drive yourself crazy and waste a plethora of valuable time. Here is a link to a comprehensive list of business building ideas that you can execute with your own style and flair.

Don't be daunted or stunted by your marketing plan. Brainstorm with a power partner and have fun with it!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

What Prince Taught Me

Everything I learned that was of any value, I learned from Prince... back in the '80's. I didn't think that his wisdom would be as profound now that I'm climbing up through my 40's, but I was wrong.

As luck would have it, I was blessed with a VIP ticket to Prince's concert at The Forum this week. I call it an early birthday present. It was my first time at this venue and I walked in on purple carpet into the VIP Lounge. Upon entering the stadium, the nice lady in a yellow jacket pointed to where I was to view the show - at a table right next to the stage.

I was a fan once, never seeing Prince in concert but loving his funky, danceable music since I was a teen. Now, as I watched him on stage from 12 feet away, I fell in love with him all over again. He is truly an amazing artist and performer. I'm not telling you this to make you jealous. I have a point, really!

As Prince walked around the stage, he left my line of sight for a moment - and I heard his melodic voice say...

"If you don't love what you do, you have no business doing it."

(pausing for dramatic affect here)

How many times have you heard that it's important to love what you do? Many times, right? But have you heard anyone say that you have NO BUSINESS doing something you DON'T love?

I know many people who are doing something they don't love... and they are miserable. They complain constantly, have little to no energy, kinda depressed and aren't all that fun to be around. Bottom line: they aren't happy. Plus, when you're doing something you're not passionate about, you don't put all your effort into it. How can you be proud of something you didn't pour all of your heart into?

Prince took something we all "know" and made it profound. It was like a declaration. So, I challenge you with this: Take a look at your life and ask yourself if what your you're doing today is worth it. Because life is too short to be held back by fear. Take a chance. Make a change. Be happy.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

How Social Media Fits Into Your Marketing Strategy

You may have asked yourself, "How can I implement social media into my marketing mix?" Many business owners like yourself are considering social media as a marketing strategy for their business. However, they wonder if it is worth their time and how much time will it take.

Here is a model marketing mix that may help you put social media in perspective:

Social Media: 11%
Email: 19%
Pay-Per-Click Advertising: 21%
Website: 27%
Search Engine Optimization: 10%
Online Display Advertising: 6%
Other - Blogs, PR, etc.: 6%

While social media helps to brand you and your business and generate interest, it should only be a small part of the marketing pie. The key is to experiment in various types of media. Try posting a banner ad on an industry website. Spend the time to update your website regularly with promotions and new offerings. Dedicate time to creating a monthly newsletter for your clients.

It is important to leverage all of your marketing efforts by tying them all together. For example, if you have a current promotion going on, make sure it's on your website, social media sites, in your newsletter and your online banner ad. If you have a Facebook business page and/or Twitter profile, make sure you have that link posted on your website, banner ad and your newsletter as well.

How much time does social media devour? Think of it this way: It's free - you're spending time instead of money. You should be promoting competitive offers on your products and/or services weekly. You should be posting mentions of you and your company on a daily basis.

Social media makes promoting offers, events and your brand very quick and easy while reaching people that want to receive your information. Therefore, it should be a part of your marketing plan.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Should I Be Blogging For My Business?

Many people have asked me if I think creating a blog for their business is a good thing to do. In order to answer that question, it's important to understand what a blog is.

If you look it up on Wikipedia, you will find this definition: "A blog is a type of website or part of a website. Blogs are usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video."

To help you better understand how to leverage this medium, you need to also understand Social Media. Online presence is critical for your business and blogs can help you to establish your credibility. By creating and posting content that is beneficial to your clients and prospects, you are effectively generating awareness and building relationships with your target audience.

When people need something, they search the Internet for similar information. What a great opportunity for you to connect with them when they need something that you can provide! Think of your blog as making a first impression to your prospects and building/maintaining credibility with your clients. In addition, it's one more way for you to bring awareness to your community about your business and/or services!

People can also search for your blog by looking for specific content through the following sites:

* Placeblogger
* Bloglines

There are many blog hosting sites, but I recommend if you're just getting started as the interface is very intuitive. Make sure your content is helpful and don't forget to include a link to recent posts on your Facebook business page, Twitter and Linkedin profiles. The more places people see you, the more awareness you generate! Happy blogging!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

New Swiping Technology

Sometimes technology impresses me. Sometimes service impresses me. This time, I found something that impresses me on both counts and I just had to share it with you.

I just discovered a device called Square. This device plugs into the audio port of your iPhone or Android and, with a downloaded app, you can swipe and process credit cards.

Which credit cards? Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover - all at the same flat rate.

What are the processing rates? 2.75% per swiped transaction. 3.5% + .15 for keyed-in transactions.

The benefits go on and on, so I encourage you to check it out at

Monday, February 14, 2011

Work/Life Balance

I am a fan of TED and watch videos of the speakers each year. Their tag line is "Ideas Worth Spreading" which speaks to my marketing heart. I've always enjoyed sharing ideas. Brainstorming is one of my favorite hobbies.

I came across this particular video on work/life balance by Nigel Marsh. Not only was I interested in the topic, but I liked the message regarding the lives of corporate warriors today. For those of you who currently work for a corporation, take note. Your employer, no matter how good they are, will do what they can to get the most out of you. They could care less about your health or personal life.

Here are the four points that Nigel makes in his presentation at TED:

1. Most people work long, hard hours at jobs they hate to buy stuff they don't need to impress people they don't like.

2. If you don't design your own life, someone will do it for you - and you may not like their idea of work/life balance.

3. Be realistic regarding timef rame. You can't do it all in one day, yet don't wait until you retire either.

4. The small things matter. Balance does not require a dramatic upheaval.

If you would like to watch Nigel's video, CLICK HERE.

Nigel Marsh is also a published writer. His book "Overworked & Underlaid - a seriously funny guide to life" has received pretty good marks.

So, maybe it's time to take stock of your miserable existence and make some small changes that help you to enjoy life more. And for all you entrepreneurs out there, you're on the right track!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Who Is Really Marketing Your Company?

Something just occurred to me. I've been learning about social media for a while now and I am always looking for ways to communicate to businesses why it's imperative that they should add this medium to their marketing plans. Awareness campaigns. Promotions. Target large audiences. Test the market. Yes, these are all good reasons, but I just realized what social media sites have really done to our society to make this strategy enormously effective:

Social media has turned the typical consumer into a marketer for products and services.

Congratulations! You are now in the marketing profession! With social media, word-of-mouth marketing has been amplified! Not just by sharing recommendations and testimonials, but also being able to easily provide links to videos, articles and websites for products and services.

If I were a business owner, I would be crazy not to participate in this on-line movement. Consumers are savvy! They want recommendations and information. They search for and read testimonials. If your business doesn't have an on-line presence in the places that your consumers are tapped into (Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin), guess what happens? You don't get their business. And your company isn't promoted to the people that they know - which is an average of 250 potential prospects.

Consumers are marketers.

That means that every person that purchases from you is a marketing campaign for your company. Can you wrap your head around that concept for just a second? Has your cranium exploded yet? Talk about mind-blowing!

I'll let you sit with that thought for now. But before you jump in to the social media pool, let me know. I wouldn't want you to drown.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Marketing Trends for 2011

It's a fact: Customers are continuing to search for information and make increasingly more purchases online. This is where consumers are, so it makes sense that marketers arrange their budgets to involve more Internet marketing efforts. And what's not to love? Internet marketing allows us to reach targeted audiences online, it's more cost-effective and it's easy to measure the results!

What does this mean for your marketing plan? It means that the traditional marketing you've been investing in is going away. What is replacing it?

1) Mobile Marketing - Who doesn't use their smart phones to check their email and search the Internet these days? You've seen the "Text to #12345 and get a free " campaigns. Welcome to the future of mobile marketing.

2) Social Media - Companies are integrating social media into their overall marketing plan now that they've realized it works. Plus, they've expanded it's use from just brand management and customer service to using it as an effective target marketing tool and to collect customer data!

3) Optimized Websites - Just because you have a website doesn't mean people can find you. If you haven't had your website optimized or it's been over a year, it's time to talk to a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Specialist TODAY! Websites can be more than just an online brochure. It can generate leads for you if it's optimized appropriately.

As you begin or continue to utilize Internet Marketing as a primary source of lead generation for your business, remember this: Relationships will always drive loyalty and sales. Keep this in mind as you are planning your marketing communications. It's the relationships you want to develop and maintain that will be key to the success of your business.

May success find you in 2011!